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WAYS 102 - Real Teachers Please Stand Up - Lynn Hall Fall 2021

Your Assignment

Fall 2021 Essay #2 from Dr. Lynn Hall

You are writing an essay to "document arguments" on education reform.  This is NOT an argumentative essay - DON'T take a side/stand! Your job is to "map the arguments around a topic".  In order to do this, you must find a minimum of three "scholarly secondary sources" that cover arguments and counterarguments on your topic.



Class Preparation Notes #5 on a secondary scholarly source


Evaluative Annotated Bibliography of 3 sources


Class Preparation Notes #6 on 1 of the 3 sources


Essay 2 DRAFT DUE for peer workshop.


Essay 2 FINAL Submission due

What to Do

Step 1: Topic Analysis

Look at the handout. example
Choose a general topic Educational Standards

Consider what aspects of that topic interest you

Should standards be set at the local, state, or federal level?

Create a list of possible search terms - NOT SENTENCES! Individual words that represent your interest

  • educational standards
  • local, state, federal, government
  • standardized testing, SAT, ACT
  • Common core
Be prepared to adjust and change the list as you start searching  

Step 2: Choose a database

Decide whether you need a:

  • General Database that covers lots of disciplines.
    • The quick search box on the library home page
    • Academic Search Complete
  • Or a focused database that narrows in to the sources for just that discipline
    • On the library home page, click on "choose databases by subject and type"
    • Choose the subject and type of sources you want and see what databases are suggested.

for this assignment, a focused database will be more effective because you need discipline specific scholarly articles.

Step 3: Search the database effectively

  • Use the four main search techniques
    • AND - to connect different ideas 
      • standards and education and federal
    • ( OR ) - to contain synonym in a group to be searched together 
      • standards and education and (federal or state)
    • quotation marks - to keep words together that express a single idea
      • "standardized testing" and government
    • Wildcard character - to catch multiple endings of a word.
      • ("educational standards" or "common core") and (state or federal) and (govern* or politic*)
  • Use the limiters on the left side of the results lists to hone in on useful items, e.g.
    • Recent
    • Articles from Academic Journal
    • in English

Step 4: Evaluate your results and revise your search as necessary

Step 5: Retrieve the articles you choose

Periodicals: A Closer Look

A Periodical is anything that is published regularly and includes newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals, as well as some less well-known categories.  You will be required by faculty to use articles from peer-reviewed journals in your academic work.  What does that mean?  How do you know that what you are finding is acceptable?

  • name of the periodical (journal, bulletin, quarterly, review...)
  • more pages in the article than in a magazine article
  • abstract present in the article (not just the database record)
  • author affiliation given
  • presence of a bibliography or references

And how do you find them in the first place?  The best way is to use a database designed to locate scholarly articles in your field of interest.

General Searching Techniques for library databases

  1. Try a title or keyword search
  2. Some databases have a list of suggested subject words on the initial results page. Look at them and copy the useful ones. If there is no list, then look at a number of potentially useful records and copy down words and phrases from the "subject" or "descriptor" area of single record. Some databases provide a thesaurus of terms which can lead to broader, related, or narrower terms you may not have thought of.
  3. Go back to the search screen and search BY SUBJECT/DESCRIPTOR using the words you learned about as a result of your first search.
  4. Be sure to connect search terms correctly using the following techniques
  • Boolean connectors
    • AND connects different concepts and narrows a search: Fish AND chips
    • OR, with parentheses, combines synonyms/related terms and broadens a search: Fish AND (chips OR fries)
  • Use quotation marks for phrases: Fish AND (chips OR "french fries")
  • Use the asterisk as a wildcard character to retrieve variations on a common stem: educat* retrieves educate, education, educating, educated, etc. Very useful for capturing plurals


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